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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kadyrov Seeks More Oil Wealth

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has reiterated his accusation that Moscow is withholding too much of the region's oil wealth -- a new sign that he is taking a more assertive line.

Kadyrov, a 30-year-old former rebel who swears allegiance to President Vladimir Putin, who put him in power, has disavowed the separatist cause. But in an interview with Izvestia published Friday, Kadyrov said the federal budget was earning revenues from oil production in Chechnya but failing to send funds the region had been promised for reconstruction.

"Everything is destroyed here, but the money is not being handed out," he said. "The federal government takes away our money, our oil and our taxes. They take this and they take that and then they say to us: 'Come on, rebuild.'

"We ask them how much money, and they do not give us a single ruble. ... If you ask for 15 billion rubles ($590 million), they give you 5 billion.

"If in other regions they had a situation like this with financing, everyone would have come out onto the streets and protested, but we just keep waiting."

Millions of dollars have rebuilt Chechnya's shattered capital, Grozny, and the Kremlin has allowed Kadyrov's popularity to soar by associating him with the resurgence of the republic.

Kadyrov in return has hunted down rebels, but his growing power inside his region has attracted enemies within the Kremlin.

In Friday's edition of a weekly newsletter on Chechnya from U.S.-based think tank The Jamestown Foundation, journalist Andrei Smirnov said there was growing unease about Kadyrov in high places in Moscow.

"The criticism of Kadyrov comes as the first sign of growing distrust in Moscow," he wrote.